Argulig danced around the water park, delighted
to have caused trouble and made it so more than one child would have
nightmares that night. “Phelan's going to be so happy with me that he'll
send me right back to Orkney.” He looked around for the crow. “Stupid crow?
Where are you?”
The black bird swooped down and picked up the
trow by the neck of his shirt.
“Put me down! Never mind, just don't drop me.”
An hour later the crow flew over Loch Doon. The
trow had managed somehow to fall asleep. The moment he'd dozed off, the
invisibility spell ended. Unaware of anything but the sugar kelp he was
dreaming about, he didn't wake until the crow dropped him into the loch.
Coughing and sputtering, Argulig screamed. Suddenly he felt himself rise
into the air and float across the top of the water to the castle. “Sir
Wizard? Is that you?”
“It's me,” Phelan said. “Now, tell me, what did
you do? Did you cause them pain and misery?” His sinister laugh echoed
through the castle.
The trow stood squeezing water from his fur. His
padded feet sloshed in a puddle and he smelled like a wet dog. “Sir Wizard,
you will be most pleased to know that I did indeed cause misery. Young Fiona
was nearly devoured by a shark, escaping barely with her life and the others
came close to drowing under big waves. I think they got the message.”
“And you weren't seen?”
“Nope. I was invisible the entire time.”
“Very well done, trow. You shall be rewarded for
your help,” Phelan barked.
“Rewarded? How will you reward me?” The trow
danced up and down with eagerness. “A barrel of fish, a case of Orkney
fudge? What shall it be?”
“Your reward will be to stay here, chained up
until I need you again.” Phelan took form of a man.
“Beggin' your pardon, Sir Wizard, did you say
you wanted me to stay chained up, here in the castle? I must have
misunderstood you, Sir Wizard. For a moment there, I thought...”
“Silence, you fool of a trow. Did you really
thing I would let you go traipsing back to Orkney to reveal my secrets?”
“No, Sir Wizard. I would never reveal anything.
All I want is to go home to my underground burrow near the dead oak tree and
sup on seaweed and a morsel or two I confiscate from Tam Sinclair's kitchen
now and then. I'll not say a word. That's a promise to you.” The trow shook
Phelan raised his arms high in the air.
The trow flew against the wall, it's wet brown
hair plastered against it in clumps. From out of nowhere appeared chains.
They wrapped themselves around Argulig's arms and legs and held him fast
against the stones. “No, Sir Wizard, I beg of you.”
Hanging a short distance from the ceiling,
Phelan summoned a basket of writhing, wriggling snakes. He caused the lid to
come off the basket and the snakes slithered up the wall. Argulig's screams
went unheard as the creatures coiled their bodies around his arms and legs.
# # #
The door to the croft opened finding Mairi
sitting on the settee next to Johnny. Jared lay on Angus's bed, sleeping.
“Fiona! You're home. Did you have a good
time?Come and tell me all about your day,” Mairi said, opening her arms for
a welcome hug from her daughter.
“Mum, we didn't really have such a good time. I
think Phelan was there. He tried to hurt us.”
“What? What happened?”
Fiona told Johnny and her mum about the day's
events, though they did have a few laughs over Jack's enjoyment of the water
“Did you learn anything else about the book?”
Fiona sat next to Johnny.
“I wrote the book, Fiona, if you mean this one.
As for the other one, written in Xilian, only Jason knows how to read that
and he was with you.” Johnny rubbed her shoulder.
“Oh. Right. It was fun though, while it lasted.
I'm sure they're all tired,” Fiona said, watching the men collapse on chairs
“You're right about that,” Jack yawned. “Someone
wake up Jared. I want to lie on the bed for a while.”